A clove a day keeps the tooth fairy at bay

Today was my first day at work in 2013. It was a baptism of fire as far as sleep deprivation and an unaccustomed early start goes. Last night I was crying with the pain of toothache. Nurofen wasn’t working so I opted for a horse tranqueliser and sleeping fitfully on the couch so I didn’t disturb HimIndoors.

I rang the dentist and got an emergency appointment almost straight away. A bit of poking about and an X-ray later and the cavity at my very back top left molar was discovered as the culprit. My dentist cleaned it out and packed it with a sedative whose main ingredient is clove. I’ve used clove oil before for toothache but it’s not advised to use it for long as it burns the gum. This was going right inside the tooth though as, as my dentist said, it tastes like Christmas.


When he mentioned that I told him how the mulled wine yesterday, which was heavy on the cloves, seemed to numb the pain a bit but I’d thought it was just the alcohol. He reckons it was the cloves, the heat and the alcohol and he may recommend some mulled wine to his patients. I think he was joking but that’s one prescription I wouldn’t mind getting.

He also explained why toothache and sore throats often seem worse at night. Apparently it’s all down to the blood pressure in your head changing when you lie down which makes the inflamed part throb. So there you have it – every day really is a school day.

When I got back I tackled the 603 emails that had come in over the last two weeks but luckily only a handful of them actually needed any attention.

In the afternoon I had a meeting with two of the people who are doing the council’s Management Development Programme. They’ve been tasked with looking at social media best practice and coming up with a few suggestions as to how we can develop our use of it. One doesn’t use it at all but completely understands how it can be used corporately by the council and the other uses Facebook personally and is really keen to get our older people online and using social media in our care homes and in day care. It was a really good meeting and although we all know there will be IT challenges ahead they are proposing social media champions in each service and internal social media surgeries so that we can all learn from each other and give people the skills and knowledge to go away and have a think about how their side of the business could be using all the channels available out there. They are keen to build on the work my manager and I have done over the last few years, yet at the same time not create extra work for people during times of budget cuts. It’ll be really interesting to see the presentation they’ll be doing to our Executive Directors and the Chief Exec. I’d love to be there but they’ll be under enough pressure without an extra face in the room. I do feel a bit like a mother hen sending her chicks off into the social media world.

Aside from all that I’ve started reading Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn which questions the use and effectiveness of things like star charts, time outs and even grading assessment papers with As and Bs. Unlike most other parenting books he backs it up with research and I totally agree with everything so far and can see areas for improvement in my own parenting skills. Problem is, I’m only on Chapter 3 and so far everything’s about bad parenting and his alternatives don’t come until Chapter 7 but I can’t skip forwards in case I miss something.


The other problem is that it won’t work if just one parent reads it – really it should be all the child’s carers and their teacher. In fact, Alfie has written a few books about how this translates to a school setting which I think MiniHim’s teachers should read because they have him on a star chart at the moment. I had my misgivings when it was suggested but this book makes me really uneasy about the whole thing. Anyway, bear with me because I’ll distill it into a post once I’m finished the book.

Today I have learned:

  • toothache really is worse at night
  • most email hitting my inbox is rubbish
  • I will always have my eyes opened by newcomers to social media
  • parenting is harder than rocket science

Today’s recipe:

Warm potato and mackerel salad


Serves 2


10 baby potatoes, skin on

a handful of fine green beans, halved

4 peppered mackerel fillets

a few handfuls of rocket

For the dressing:

1 garlic clove crushed with some course sea salt

2 tbsp tahini (make sure you stir the jar well first)

grated zest and juice of half a lemon

juice of half an orange

a squeeze of clear honey


Method: Cut the potatoes and rinse under cold running water. Put on to boil for about 15 minutes in salted water. For the last few minutes of cooking throw in the beans. Drain well.

Wrap the mackerel in tin foil and place on a backing tray in a preheated oven (Gas 5/190C) for about 15 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking and the mackerel is heating make the dressing. Put the crushed garlic, lemon zest and juice, orange juice, honey and pepper in a bowl and stir well.

Put the rocket in a big serving bowl, add the potatoes and beans and flake in the mackerel. Mix through with your hands.

Serve in bowls at the table with crusty bread and drizzle on the dressing. Any leftover dressing is yummy mopped up with the bread.

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